ROYGBIV: Red

30 Mar

In recent months, I’ve thought a lot about the color wheel and the classic rainbow of colors, most recently from having to organize my fabric weaving quarters and yards in some kind of logical way, but also from repainting our new house (after pondering split-complementary and tetradic color schemes until my eyes crossed).

At the same time, I also have a LOT of photos of colorful things that have caught my eye over the years, so I thought to start posting a weekly “ROYGBIV” photo, following the red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet sequence. But I had to ask myself, what exactly is the difference between indigo and violet? Indigo and violet are both “purple,” but indigo is a very blue-purple and violet is a red-purple. It helps if you think of the colors on a wheel: violet eventually morphs into red, and most people can distinguish red-purple.

Indigo is far more controversial, thanks to Isaac Newton. He realized white light is actually made up of a spectrum of many colors, where each color blends into the neighboring color. He designated seven colors as being in the visible color spectrum; it was he who included indigo. There are many theories as to why he chose seven colors: Was he following the pattern of sevens (seven musical notes, seven days of the week, seven planets, etc.) or did he simply observe that seven colors had large-enough wavelengths to make the list? We may never know, but what is certain is that the human eye is notoriously insensitive to indigo; it is a hard color for most people to identify. Bearing that in mind, I’ll try to keep indigo in rotation for as long as I can determine it’s not actually blue….

This week, however, I will start off with the first color normally found in the sequence: Red.

Oxheart tomatoes (Cuore Di Bue), taken at the Testaccio Market in Rome, Italy

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